I opposed Saudi govt for 20 years and was never threatened, says former critic

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Dr. Kassab Al-Otaibi, a former opposition figure of the Saudi government, has spoken on the Jamal Khashoggi case and told Al Arabiya.net that he opposed the Saudi government for more than two decades and was never threatened.

“My journey in opposing the Saudi government lasted for more than 22 years in London, and I was never threatened,” Otaibi told Al Arabiya.net.

“Inciting the case of journalist Jamal Khashoggi only serves an agenda that’s hostile to Saudi Arabia, and what’s happening is a disgusting and vile politicization by media channels and figures affiliated with (this agenda),” he added.

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“Countries that have rivalries with Saudi Arabia benefit from this and they hope for Jamal Khashoggi’s death in order to achieve their aim and involve Saudi Arabia in this scene,” Otaibi said.

Otaibi noted that the tone of rhetoric when he was an opposition figure was much higher than Jamal’s and he was never threatened or harmed, adding that Khashoggi’s criticism is considered “simple” compared to what he previously wrote.

Jamal Khashoggi (AFP)
Jamal Khashoggi (AFP)

Benefiting parties

“There are parties which benefit from politicizing the issue. The media fabrication, stories and lies about cutting Khashoggi’s body and disseminating such stories online via Twitter and fabricated photos is repugnant. We are a targeted country and we must be vigilant to such parties. Saudi Arabia has today changed, and they do not want that. This issue (pertaining to Khashoggi) has exposed all faces, and if Khashoggi emerges, they will (be struck) with unprecedented disappointment,” he added.

Otaibi also said that Saudi Arabia’s policy is not like enemies picture it as the kingdom is a great country with great history and strategy and with how it deals with others. “Many things happened and were calmly and wisely addressed. The most recent is how the kingdom dealt with Trump’s statements and how the crisis was contained and finalized,” he explained.

Otaibi had commented on the disappearance of Khashoggi on Twitter and condemned allegations that Saudi Arabia was involved in his disappearance.

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“To those promoting lies, (I say) I opposed for 20 years. I was harsh on my country and I offended some of its symbols. My rhetoric is incomparable to Jamal’s. I realized my mistake and realized the sanctity of the homeland. My country took me back to its bosom and its leadership embraced me. I apologized to everyone I wronged, and I returned home, and I was not killed. Saudi Arabia does not assassinate. I am an example so keep silent,” he wrote on Twitter.

“I think our country is facing a media war, a dirty war by suspicious channels, media institutions and media and political figures. This intensified and dangerous mobilization against everything that’s Saudi and the accusations and lies it entails need to be dealt with on the political and media levels upon the rules of war,” he also said.

“If Saudi Arabia seeks to kill Khashoggi, why not kill him in Turkey’s streets that are full of gangs? What is its interest in killing him in its consulate? What (Al-Jazeera) and its clients are promoting and their silly narratives underestimate logic. We’ve reached (the extent) of cutting him and taking photos?!” Otaibi said.

This article is also available in Arabic.